Amplification: The Dance

The dervish knows exactly where he is at all times. His left foot never leaves the ground. He does not lose himself in ecstasy; he becomes ecstasy. In the words of T.S. Eliot, he is there where the dance is 'at the still point of the turning world'. Surely this is another instance of what Jane Harrison means by the dromenon or 'the thing done'. He is in the eternal moment of creation.
In India Shiva Nataraja is the god of dance. He dances in Chidambaram-that is the centre of the universe which is also the centre of the heart. His dance brings matter into being, and he dances within the circle of the fire of human passions and feelings, by which we are both drawn to experience and know ourselves and 'burned'-that is either purified or destroyed by our incarnation with its human desires and passions.
Both images define sacred space and sacred time. When we dance, whether we are conscious of it or not, these are the archetypal images which are evoked in the deepest layers of the psyche. Shiva represents the birth of the timeless into time and space. The whirling dance of the dervishes represents the ability to be in ordinary reality but simultaneously through dance to be in sacred time and space. They are seemingly opposite images of the same paradoxical truth that man is at once merely and ordinarily human and simultaneously 'significant man' surging with an invincible like force despite his frailty and mortality. At the core of the round dance, the whirling dance of the dervishes and in the dance of Shiva the central image is that of the self as dance.